Shingo Yamano on IAF (Fukuoka)

IAF, Shingo Yamano in the background, 1993. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.
1993年のIAF 奥にいるのは山野真悟 

*** Please scroll down for the Japanese version / 日本語版は下方へスクロールしてください。*** 

In 1971, I moved back to Fukuoka from Tokyo, and opened an etching class in the 2-chōme district of Chuo Ward in Fukuoka in 1975. A few students gathered, and I got to know Keita Egami who, at the time, had just returned to Ōmuta after graduating from the Tokyo University of the Arts, and together we made a small art magazine with the students that had gathered. After a while, we began to talk about making the group bigger and holding other classes, and decided to rent the second floor of a wooden building in 3-chōme Yakuin and start over. I decided to name the place “Institute of Art Function” and eventually our group became known simply as “IAF.”

When it was first established, the IAF instructors were myself (etching), Keita Egami (design), and Koichi Ogawa (silkscreen), but later on we also had Kizuka Tadahiro (oil painting, design), Akira Inoue (lithograph), Rokurō Tasaki (silkscreen - alternating with Ogawa), and Sumio Tahira (tempera).

Many young artists and students from Kyushu Sangyo University’s art department would gather in this new space. Most of them were not IAF students. They would come almost every night as the classes were ending, with beer and food, and stay and discuss things until late into the night, and sometimes even till the morning.

IAF Newsletter No.1, published in 1983, 2 pages (front and back). Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.
IAF通信第1号 1983年発行 裏表2p 写真提供:山野真悟

IAF Special Lecture, Tadashi Kawamata and Makoto Murata, 11 June 1996. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.
IAF特別講座1996年6月11日 川俣正+村田真 写真提供:山野真悟

IAF Special Lecture, Navin Rawanchaikul, 20 September 1995. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano. 

It was during such an evening that Kizuka Tadahiro suggested starting a reading of contemporary art criticism. At first, we did this by ourselves but after coming across some limitations, we asked Akio Obigane, the curator of Fukuoka Art Museum, to join us as a lecturer. The first text he chose was a thick book, “Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology” edited by Gregory Battcock. We ordered it from Art Vivant, the Sezon Museum of Art bookshop in Ikebukuro in Tokyo, and took turns to translate part of the text and present it once a week, with Obigane correcting translation mistakes and explaining interpretations; this became the basis for our discussions. This first reading, which began in October 1979, was completed in March 1981. For the next book, we decided to turn to conceptual art, and began reading an anthology that was about the same size as the minimal art book: “On Art: Artists’ Writings on the Changed Notion of Art after 1965” edited by Gerd de Vries. We continued these studies even after Obigane left Fukuoka. After that, Akihiko Morishita, an assistant at Kyushu Sangyo University joined us for a conceptual study group on art and language, followed by Raiji Kuroda who worked with us on reading “The Anti-Aesthetic.” We then continued our studies with semiotics, reading texts by Peirce and Bakhtin. As the members of this study group found more reasons to work together, we became known as a young artist group in our own right. Of those members, Kyushu Sangyo University’s Chiaki Wada and Tomoko Ushijima went on to continue working as artists. Hatsune Miyamoto (who was studying medicine at Kyushu University at the time) apparently first heard of us through a student from Kyushu University’s art department who had come to study silkscreening, but came to IAF for the first time to collect data for a magazine she was working on in 1984, and later became a staff member for the Museum City Project.

We took part in exhibitions held by young artists and organized our own. Experimental films were all the rage at the time in Fukuoka. There was a group called Film Makers Field (FMF) and many young talented people and students gathered together in the Department of Visual Design run by Toshio Matsumoto at the Kyushu Institute of Design. As instructors, we also made 8-mm films with them, and they would take part in our exhibitions. In 1982, I asked FMF member Yoshihiko Noto to run a film class for us. At the time, the only student who came was Naoko Tosa, who went on to become a Kyoto University lecturer and filmmaker. IAF became known as a place for film screenings and performances, and artists from outside of Fukuoka — from Tokyo, other cities, and, years later, even Asia — began to drop by.

In 1983, I met Tadashi Kawamata for the first time after Akio Obigane got in touch to ask me to help him find an exhibition space that was outside, not in a museum. At the time, Obigane was planning an exhibition called “Materials and Space,” which included artists such as Shigeo Toya and Toyomi Hoshina and featured a new form of art that was rapidly gaining attention: installations. 

Keita Egami at IAF, date unknown. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.
年不詳 IAFで作業中の江上計太

Entrance to the "GAS" exhibition. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.

This new “installation” concept that Kawamata brought with him to Fukuoka had a big impact on the young artists. For an artistic concept to change means that the concepts of reality around art also change, and Keita Egami and I in particular were very much influenced by him.

After Kawamata, the artists of Fukuoka changed. They (or rather we) began to take our work outdoors. We began to hold exhibitions in places that weren’t galleries or museums: on rooftops of buildings, in empty houses, offices, etc. Things also became more fast-paced. We started holding exhibitions on almost a monthly basis. During this time, not just our generation but younger people began to get noticed. The relationship between Kawamata and IAF continued, even as he was making silkscreen works at the request of places like Art Front Gallery and Gallery Kobayashi. In the latter half of 1990, Kawamata once again came to Fukuoka. “Coal Mine Tagawa” was a long-term project to build a steel tower in a coal mining town, and Kawamata came to stay and work on it twice a year while also working on other related projects. He started the project with the help of young artists and architects, and later, many people became involved as staff and volunteers. In 2006, the project ended, with the steel tower left uncompleted.

Owing to this encounter with Kawamata and his way of working on projects while moving from place to place, after 1983, we decided to start making more connections with different places. Motoi Masaki, who was the curator of the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art at the time and helped Kawamata with his project in Sapporo, supported us and this made a big difference. We started by creating a network in the comparatively closer Kyushu, connecting local people. After making connections from Kyushu to Kansai, Gunma, and Hokkaido, in 1987, we gathered some local artists and held an exhibition called “Artists’ Network” at Sagacho Exhibit Space in Tokyo, and later that same year, held “Artists’ Network Expanded” at the Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. The connections that were made at this time became the foundation for subsequent endeavors.

Poster (postcard) of an exhibition at Sagacho Exhibit Space. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano. 

Poster, Scramble Plan, 1984. The exhibition was held in an abandoned apartment building, which was to be demolished. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.

In 1989, over 100 designers, illustrators and artists took part in the “GAS” exhibition at Hotel Rich Hakata near Hakata station. An exhibition requested by the hotel, it was held in an old vacant music classroom, an 890-m2 venue on the second floor of the hotel from 1 August to 30 September 1989. The content and management of the exhibition was decided through discussions between representatives from both the hotel and the participating artists.

During this exhibition, a couple of people came to see me: Shotaro Tsuji from Mitsubishi Estate and Nobuyuki Harada from Nishinippon Shimbun. Tsuji was managing the new IMS mall which had just opened in Tenjin in Chuo Ward in Fukuoka that year and Harada had just begun managing Mitsubishi’s Art Gallery Artium. The two approached me as those responsible for culture in the IMS building, and asked whether I would be able to make use of the entire IMS building to put together an exhibition with local young artists. I accepted. This was my first experience trying to put together an exhibition while managing a budget. In 1989, the first “Kyushu Contemporary Art Adventure” was held, with 15 artists from Kyushu. Thus began my connection with the retail facility, and an exhibition that was held ten times until 1998. From the third exhibition, artists were selected by open call and it became a gateway for young artists. In 1999, we held a special “Kyushu Contemporary Art Great Adventure” and invited six local artists who had been part of the project in the past, as well as Tetsuya Nakamura from Tokyo and Natasha Nisic from Berlin as guests for the final exhibition in the series.

Into the 1990s, the focus of my work shifted from IAF to a new project called “Museum City Project” (MCP). Although IAF still largely operated as an art class, for me it was mostly an office and a place of exchange.

IAF never worked out in terms of management. We never managed to make an income out of it that would cover the rent, and I had to manage it while making a living elsewhere.

“IAF 1989” at Fukuoka Art Museum. 11 artists participated in the exhibition. Title unknown, Kanako Matsuura. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.

 “IAF 1989.” Title unknown, Keita Egami. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.

"IAF 1989." Title unknown, Shingo Yamano. Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.

"IAF 1989." Kazunari Takamuku (seated on the floor), in preparation of a performance in which he would destroy the TV monitors, and Tadahiro Kizuka (center). Image and caption courtesy of Shingo Yamano.

But if I were to summarise IAF’s accomplishments, I would say first that it became a place where Fukuoka’s young artists could gather, functioning as a place where they could study and present their work, and that it became a place of exchange for artists from many places, including Asia.

Although I may have found myself comparing MCP with IAF and keeping them separate, the work of IAF continued into the 1990s. They held a series of IAF Special Lectures in which guests were invited to speak at various institutions in Fukuoka.

According to documentation, in 1995, IAF began a membership program which cost 3,000 JPY a year, and this series was started as part of the benefit for these members. The first was a  lecture on photography by Yoshiaki Yoshizumi. The second was by Cai Guo-Qiang, held at Airefu Hall in the Fukuoka City Health Promotion Support Center. Current documentation shows that they held 31 of these lectures between 1995 and 1998, but I believe they continued after this as well.

As a report on these lectures, a small handwritten booklet called “IAF Paper” was made for the members, which was then copied and distributed in small numbers. These have become a valuable resource for understanding Fukuoka’s art situation of the time. 

In 2001, after I managed to secure a new office in Hakata in Fukuoka, IAF was taken over by younger people, who changed the interior and renamed it IAF SHOP. In 2004, management changed again, and as of 2020, it is continuing as a place where people can eat and drink, see exhibitions and live performances. 

Shingo Yamano
November 16, 2020


The above text was translated from Japanese by Taz Burns.


Shingo Yamano was born in 1950 in Fukuoka. He graduated from the Etching Department of Bigakko Art School in 1971. From the 1970s, he began to work as an artist based in Fukuoka, and arranged exhibitions while presiding over the IAF Art Laboratory. He launched Museum City Tenjin in 1990, an annual art exhibition unfolding within the city, and organized “Exceptional Passage” in 1991, a Chinese Avant-Garde Artists Exhibition. In addition, he has organized a lot of exhibitions and workshops focusing on the relationship between art and city. He was the Curator of the Yokohama Triennial 2005 and has been the Director of Koganecho Area Management Center since 2009. He received the Art Encouragement Prizes of the Minister of Education, Science and Culture in 2015 and Yokohama Culture Prize in 2016.






そのような状況の中で、木塚忠弘が現代美術の読書会を提案した。最初は自分たちだけでやっていたが、それでは限界があり、途中から福岡市美術館学芸員の帯金章郎に講師役を依頼した。彼が最初に選んだテキストはMINIMAL ART A CriticalAnthology Edited by Gregory Battcockという分厚い本で、東京池袋の西武美術館の一画にあった書店、アール・ヴィヴァンから取り寄せて、毎週1回、各ひとりずつ担当の分を翻訳して発表し、それに帯金が英語の間違いチェックや解釈についての説明を付け足し、それをもとに議論を進めるという形をとった。1979年10月に始まったこの読書会は1981年3月に終了した。私たちは、次はコンセプチュアル・アートをやることにして、ミニマルアートの時とほぼ同じサイズのアンソロジー、On Art Artists` Writings on the Changed Notion of Art After 1965 Edited by Gerd de Vriesを読み始めた。この勉強会は帯金が福岡を離れたあとも、継続した。その後も九州芸工大の助手、森下明彦が参加し、アート&ランゲージのテキストによる概念芸術研究会、黒田雷児が参加してThe Anti-Aestheticの読書会、その後もパースやバフチンをテキストとした記号論研究会へと続いた。この研究会に集まってきた若い彼らと行動をともにする機会も増えて、私たちは若いアーティストグループのひとつと見なされるようになった。当時のメンバーでその後もアーティストとして活動を続けた学生は九州産業大学出身では和田千秋、牛島智子らがいる。後年ミュージアム・シティ・プロジェクトの事務局スタッフとして活動するようになる宮本初音(当時九州大学医学部学生)は1984年にサークルで作っていた雑誌の取材のために初めてIAFに来たそうだが、彼女の証言によれば、それ以前に九州大学の美術部の学生がシルクスクリーンを習うために通っていたという。






1983年以来、さまざまな場所を移動しながらプロジェクトを行う川俣との出会いがきっかけとなって、私たちは他の地域とのつながりを作ろうと動き始めた。札幌で川俣のプロジェクトのサポートをしていた道立近代美術館学芸員(当時)の正木基の協力が大きかった。私たちは比較的近場の九州からネットワークを作り始め、ローカルな地域同士をつないでいった。九州から関西、群馬、北海道へ、とつながってから、1987年、東京の佐賀町エギジビット・スペースで、ローカルエリアのアーティストが集まり、「Artists` Network]」という展覧会を開催、さらに同年、福岡県立美術館でその拡大版「Artist`s Network Expanded」を開催した。この時に作った人脈がその後の活動の基礎になった。







資料によれば、1995年当時、IAFは年会費3000円の会員制度を作ったようで、その会員のための特典として、特別講座を始めたらしい。第1回目は写真家吉住美昭による作品を撮影するための写真講座。そして第2回目が蔡國強(Cai Guoqiang)の講座で、「福岡市健康づくりサポートセンター、あいれふ」で開いている。現在残る資料によると1995年から1998年の間に31回開催しているが、このあともまだ続いたらしい。


2001年になって、私が福岡市博多区に新しいオフィスを構えるようになってから、IAFはIAF SHOPと改称し、若い人たちが中身を変えて、引き継いだ。その後さらに2004年から運営者が交代し、2020年現在、飲食とライブや展示のスペースとなり、同じ場所で続いている。






1950 年福岡県生まれ。1978 年より IAF 芸術研究室を主宰、展覧会企画等をおこなう。1990年ミュージアム・シティ・プロジェクト事務局長に就任。1990 年より隔年で街を使った美術展「ミュージアム・シティ・天神」をプロデュース。「まちとアート」をテーマに、プロジェクトやワークショップ等を多数てがける。2005 年「横浜トリエンナーレ」キュレーター。2008 年より「黄金町バザール」ディレクター、翌 2009 年黄金町エリアマネジメントセンター事務局長に就任。2014 年度(第 65 回)芸術選奨文部科学大臣賞受賞。2016 年横浜市文化賞受賞。

More info / 追加情報:
Film Makers Field (フィルム・メーカーズ・フィールド)
Museum City Tenjin 1996, Fukuoka, Japan
Stephanie Gartelman. "Activists in the name of art." (19 Aug 2001)
"Art in Fukuoka." (24 Oct 2011)

If you can / もしよろしければ:

Support Shingo Yamano's Book Project / 黄金町出版プロジェクトを支援 


Right People, Wrong Timing (RPWT) is a series of texts on defunct or inactive independent Asian arts initiatives that had crossed paths or ran parallel to Papaya’s own 20-year history. With new posts every Friday from August to December 2020, RPWT is kindly supported through a local grant by the Japan Foundation Manila.

Right People, Wrong Timing (RPWT)は、グリーン・パパイヤ・アート・プロジェクトの20年の歴史を通して交流のあった、または同じ時代に活動したアジアのインディペンデントのアート・イニシアチブの中から、一時的、または永続的に活動を休止しているイニシアチブに関するテキストを紹介するシリーズです。2020年8月から12月の期間中、毎週金曜日に新しい記事を掲載します。国際交流基金マニラ日本文化センターからの助成を受けています。